The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is a $12.99 TJ’s exclusive. The back label says it was vinted and bottled by Ashford Court, which is a faux winery. These Trader Joe’s Reserve wines are negociant wines; negociants never tell where they got their wines. The Alexander Valley is the upper half of the Russian River, from Healdsburg to the Mendocino border.
Some famous Alexander Valley AVA wineries are Coppola, Ferrari-Carano, and Napa’s Silver Oak has a Sonoma winery here. Which vineyard or vineyards grew the Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 grapes and who produced the wine is not available information. Vinted and Bottled only means they bottled the wine and maybe aged it for a time.
The Fearless Flyer is more vague than usual and offers no cryptic hints about the possible producer, so here is what we can guess from the available information. A 2020 vintage released in May of 2023 has decent aging for a drink-it-now wine. It was probably pressed and fermented in October or early November 2020. It has been in oak barrels plus additional bottle aging for roughly 24 to 26 months.
During the pressing and right before fermentation they extract all the juice and chemical pounds from the grapes (winemaking is a science project). A typical ten-buck wine has enough extraction but not too much. The more intense the compounds in the wine the longer it takes for the wine to reach its balance and they prefer value-priced wines to be ready sooner rather than later.
The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 had an extraction process and an oak regimen that needed need 2 years to balance, so this is a wine that was produced more like wines in the $20 to $30 range. It takes more than extraction and oak barrels for a wine to earn its price tag, but this wine seems to belong in that category. The alcohol content is 14.1%.
The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Tasting Notes
The color is black cherry with a little purple. The nose is ripe blackberry, juicy raspberry, dusty chocolate powder, spice, toasted vanilla, and plums. The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 a smooth, silky Cab Sauv, not complex, but very easy to drink.
This Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like blackberry, ripe blueberry, black pepper, mocha, and a soft slap of spice. The mid-palate allows for a slight pull from the tannins (a Cabernet Sauvignon should show tannins), tart cranberry, vanilla, orange zest, and soft black cherry.
- The Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 is a solid easy-to-drink wine, pair it with comfort food burgers, pizza, and tacos.
- Trader Joe’s likes to say that their Grand Reserve wine compares with wines at twice the price. While I would not pay $25 for this Red, it is well-priced at $12.99.